Unit Overview

The women’s rights movements have gone through two phases in the United States. The first was the feminist movement that led to women gaining the right to vote and other basic rights. The second wave of feminism took place in the 60s and 70s and was centered around women gaining further autonomy and challenging social structures that limited women’s roles in society. The talk by Rebecca Traister on the changing demographics of marriage is interesting food for thought as we think about what the future of gender relationships might be like going forward. Many have wondered if the #metoo movement makes the beginning of a new era in how sexual harassment and assault are view and treated in society


Abortion through a feminist Lens

While we touched on what is generally taken to be the core philosophical issue in the abortion debate, with our earlier reading. Sherwin argues that we need to do more than this, if we are to truly understand the issues connected to the abortion debate. Here is probably the key passage in the reading:

No human, and especially no fetus, can exist apart from relationships; feminist views of what is valuable about persons must reflect the social nature of their existence. Fetal lives can neither be sustained nor destroyed without affecting the women who support them. Because of a fetus’s unique physical status — within and dependent on a particular woman — the responsibility and privilege of determining its specific social status and value must rest with the woman carrying it. Fetuses are not persons because they have not developed sufficiently in social relationships to be persons in any morally significant sense (i.e., they are not yet second persons). Newborns, although just beginning their development into persons, are immediately subject to social relationships, for they are capable of communication and response in interaction with a variety of other persons. Thus, feminist accounts of abortion stress the importance of protecting women’s right to continue as well as to terminate pregnancies as each sees fit.

Male Privilege

Male privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard, it means gender isn’t one of the things making your life harder. That being said, many people might still wonder whether there is such a thing as male privilege. Male privilege is harder to see than privilege based on race or class, but nevertheless, it is very real. Here, here, and here are compilations of statistical evidence for male privilege. An interesting way of understanding male privilege is hearing from people who have transitioned between genders. Below are a couple of videos of people explaining their experience.

Gender Implicit Bias

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